I Found My Sticky Writing in Bed

Autumn Trees at Pound Ridge

I wanted to write. But I felt empty of words. So I sat on my bed, opened How to Read a Poem: And Fall in Love with Poetry, and started... reading.

The author was talking about his first brush with grief poetry— the image of Achilles with his face in the dirt. The image stuck. So much so that when the author dealt with a friend's death years later, Achilles somehow consoled him.

"Poetry is a stubborn art," the author concluded. By this he meant that poetry refuses to let humanity go. It sets down a record of our deepest feelings. It gives us a place to lay our heads.

I sat in bed and thought about this. I thought about my struggle to write poetry. I realized I needed to let my poetry be a stubborn art.

It was raining, and I'd just been reading a poem in David Wheeler's upcoming book. You wouldn’t/ believe all the water teeming/ in the cracks of our streets/ ...We/could almost be swept away. The rhythm of rain was on my mind. I could almost feel it moist-tapping my skin.

So I began with the rain and this is what came (see below). Other poems, perhaps more stubborn and sticky, followed.

In the end, I found my sticky writing in bed. This wasn't on Heath & Heath's "how-to" list. But as Linda noted in one of her recent comments to me, sometimes a quiet place is where we find our best words, a place to lay our heads.

Aubade, October

I must hear my way
to the rain,
what do you do
when the rain is falling,
and whispered night comes early,
covers apples
in the orchard, red, unspoken for,
falling, falling...
like the rain.

Autumn Trees at Pound Ridge, photo by L.L. Barkat.


Over at TheHighCalling.org we're reading and discussing Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die, by Heath & Heath. Want to join us? :)

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Blogger Madame Rubies said...

Oh... I love this. The apples. Just... perfect.

Images do that to me too, stick. Sometimes I will write using one image or theme until it is out of my system. Recently, I got stuck on Jonah.

10:53 AM  
Blogger Maureen said...

I especially like the first three opening lines of this very lovely poem. To be able to still oneself enough and close out all other sounds to hear only where the rain might lead... is so evocative, as is the tenderness of the image of night covering the apples "unspoken for" and falling. Terrific!

11:08 AM  
Anonymous Alex Marestaing said...

Some say poetry is a dying art, but all we have to do is look to the younger generation, they're entralled by music and lyrics. They may not call it poetry, but it is, and they have fallen head over heels for it. Anyway, nice poem, we all wonder what to do when the rain comes early.

12:02 PM  
Blogger Jerry said...

Wow, the silence really came through for you. Thanks for your stubborn stick toitiveness. Rain is definately a calming balm sometimes.

10:03 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

I think you heard your way to the rain just perfectly here. Beautiful.

8:43 AM  
Anonymous Monica Sharman said...

"what do you do
when the rain is falling"

The other day I wondered exactly that. I was out running, and thought maybe I should run faster (to get home faster and avoid getting wet). But after a few strides, I decided to take my sweet time. I wanted to get wet. Soaked.

10:15 AM  
Blogger Kelly Langner Sauer said...

omigoodness... this is one I love from you. I'm going to have to find a picture for it. wow how lovely.

7:06 AM  

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